Old Ideas - Leonard Cohen

Universal acclaim - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Feb 6, 2012
    Leonard Cohen has made the best full album of his career (song for song, sound for sound, lyrical point for point; yes, this is true) and most certainly the best album of 2012.
  2. Jan 27, 2012
    It is, in short, and as we might have expected, a work of genius.
  3. Feb 1, 2012
    In an era of hype and hyperbole where such a word has lost its meaning, Old Ideas is in the truest sense a masterpiece.
  4. Give it its long chance and you'll find that Cohen's sense of humor alive and kicking from the first words.
  5. Feb 1, 2012
    Fittingly, the album is all warmth, putting Cohen's improbably expressive smoker's purr in the middle of simple yet sumptuous instrumentation.
  6. 91
    The man in the suit still commands a room, telling tales of forgiveness, heaven, and alcohol. [3/10 Feb 2012, p.112]
  7. Jan 31, 2012
    The new album is a willfully modest affair, its tracks stripped to their most basic elements: a synthesized keyboard and drum machine here, an acoustic guitar or violin there, meticulously arranged female voices everywhere as a counterpoint to Cohen's own increasingly cavernous growl.
  8. Jan 26, 2012
    The lyrics on Old Ideas reach for the stark power of prayers, hymns and religious riddles.
  9. Jan 25, 2012
    With simple, delicate moments of memorable poignancy such as Banjo or Amen, he has now made a late masterpiece.
  10. Jan 24, 2012
    Still feisty after all these years, his entanglements with love and aging [are]documented with wicked wit and an attitude that is anything but sentimental.
  11. Mar 21, 2012
    Old Ideas goes beyond serving as a solid-bookend, revealing the singer/songwriter's gifts to be entirely undiminished. [Mar 2012, p.83]
  12. Feb 27, 2012
    Old Ideas remain a quietly surprising album, full of grace, full of sadness, but also, most importantly, full of life. [Mar 2012, p.90]
  13. Feb 22, 2012
    Leonard Cohen sounds like a performer at the peak of his game. [Mar 2012, p.107]
  14. Feb 8, 2012
    Old Ideas is the most musically considered Leonard Cohen album yet, and perhaps the first that sounds like the kind of thing you'd expect from an old master of the 1960s and 70s.
  15. Feb 2, 2012
    Old Ideas is a very good Cohen album; it may be great, but only time reveals that when it comes to his work.
  16. Feb 1, 2012
    Wonderfully unsentimental, beautifully tuneful.
  17. Jan 26, 2012
    Old Ideas feels like you're hearing Cohen performing live at a small club with a top-notch band of veteran players, and this new level of intimacy suits him perfectly.
  18. Jan 24, 2012
    He filters these gifts of poetry and keen observation through his bruised, romantic outlook, into a fully-formed album that sounds as if it was always in there, waiting to see the light of day. Or the darkness.
  19. 80
    He comes across as a man still deep in the throes of religious and romantic upheaval, invigorated rather than intimidated by the nearness of death.
  20. Jan 23, 2012
    It is not wild hyperbole to say that he might be the finest master of his craft alive today.
  21. 80
    if it is to be his last communiqué, at least the old smoothie's going down swinging.
  22. Jan 13, 2012
    An album that pores over the passing and the past with such defiant, deadpan nobility. [Feb 2012, p.78]
  23. Feb 23, 2012
    All told, Old Ideas might be Cohen's strongest effort since taking Manhattan.
  24. Old Ideas is not the man's latter-day masterpiece but its title is as bluntly honest as any you'll see this year, in more ways than one.
  25. Feb 1, 2012
    The sparse production recalls Cohen's 1988 release, "I'm Your Man," by throwing the Canadian balladeer's ever-deepening voice and his mix of poetic flair and pitch-black humor into satisfyingly stark relief.
  26. Jan 25, 2012
    The 10-track album is heavily front-loaded--while the texture and tone remain relatively consistent, the writing "relaxes" a bit about halfway through, and there's little in the record's second half that's as intensely arresting as any of the aforementioned songs.
  27. Feb 1, 2012
    The songs are decent, the singing is stunning.
  28. Jan 31, 2012
    For all its flaws, Old Ideas remains Cohen's strongest work for some time.
  29. 70
    Old Ideas, however, succeeds in largely keeping the music subservient, buoyant enough to keep things moving but not distracting any attention from the lyrics, the true star of the show.
  30. Jan 20, 2012
    There's a distinct valedictory tone to his customary musings upon life, love and the spirit, with one track titled "Amen" and another "The Darkness". But if it is to be his last communiqué, at least the old smoothie's going down swinging.
  31. Not to say Cohen is not an artist to be treasured, just that Old Ideas may not be entirely essential.
  32. Jan 27, 2012
    The voices that accompany him here are by turns syrupy and overwrought, and they work less to melt the icy tenor of the singer's voice than to soften the tracks into complete mush.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. BKM
    Feb 3, 2012
    Leonard Cohen emerges like a specter from the shadows to deliver this gem of an album. The arrrangements are minimal which allow the focus to be entirely on Cohen's weathered voice as he sings about love, loss, longing, regret and salvation with the fervor and passion that artists half his age have trouble mustering up. A true work of art. Full Review »
  2. Feb 3, 2012
    One of the best albums of 2012 already. Great music and lyrics,pure work of genius. At 77 years old Leonard Cohen is at his best. Don't miss this masterpiece. Full Review »
  3. Apr 26, 2012
    Leonard Cohen needs no recommendation. Who had heard songs like "In My Secret Life" and "Dance Me To The End Of Love", artist's latest album entitled "Old Ideas" will please them. For the rest of listeners it's the first in eight years opportunity to familiarize yourself with unique vocals and poetic style of Cohen's songs. The album consists entirely different compositions - from sung poetry in "Going Home" and "Anyhow", the subtle ballad "Show Me The Place", acoustic and gentle "Crazy To Love You" to careless folk song - "Banjo". A solid entry in the discography of the artist. Full Review »